Despite getting outhit 9-3, Braves salvage game against Giants

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Going for their first sweep in Atlanta since 1988, the Giants outhit the Braves 9-3 on Thursday, yet lost 3-2 anyway.

All three Braves hits went for extra bases: Freddie Freeman and David Ross homered off Madison Bumgarner, while Michael Bourn delivered an RBI triple after a Pablo Sandoval error put Paul Janish on base.

Tim Hudson won for the Braves, moving him to 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA in eight starts since the beginning of June. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his major league-high 28th save.

The Giants won the first two games of the series at Turner Field, 9-0 and 9-4. Had they won again today, it would have been their first sweep in Atlanta since June 27-29, 1988.  Candy Maldonado and Dale Murphy were the cleanup hitters in that series, and batting fifth for the Braves was Ken Griffey Sr. The Giants’ Will Clark hit his NL-leading 19th homer in the finale of the series.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.